Securing canvas mats.
I am appealing to the vast and varied amount of experience out there on Aikiweb.
The dojo I train with has the use of 33 4' x 9' canvas covered mats. We are in the process of re-canvasing these mats now, which has tied up most of the dojo funds and will soon involve a couple of dojo "canvasing parties".
[(if you are with the dojo and reading this: it is going to be so much fun, you just won't know what to do with yourself) (note to self - stock up on the sake)]...
We are currently using wrestling tape to secure the 15 mats used during class; however, securing this way is expensive. Our dojo is soon to move into a larger training room and we will be utilizing most of the mats we have, thereby increasing the amount of tape we would be using.
The mats must be picked up after each class, so a permanent framework is out. Sewing on velcro flaps is out because of the cost involved and difficulty finding a place to do the work.
The low-cost "solution" I have come up with is a temporary framework using multiple sets of 2 - 2' 2x4's strung together with rope that runs under the mat. The rope is polypropylene and has a low stretch factor. By drilling through the 2x4 and running the rope into that hole, we can tighten each section of the "frame" as needed. Two sets costs me about $12.00.
The downside to this "system" is the set-up time, the mess of ropes, and the possibility that the mats will pop over the frame.
One suggestion I recently received is to hand sew a connector on the 9' edge of the mats, so that 3 or 4 mats fold up. Then we would just have to worry about holding the 4' edges together.
So what do you think? Any ideas? Any similar situations to draw on? What did your cash poor dojo do?
Thanks for your input and ideas,